Can Turtles Eat Spiders? Are Spiders Venomous?

Jan 4, 2022

Can turtles eat spiders?

Some pet owners like their turtles to roam around the house. Well, I do. And when my turtle meanders through my kingdom, it definitely encounters varieties of insects. 

And often, these encounters become a duel that my turtle wins every time.

My victor turtle stands tall and starts devouring the fallen insect. 

But sometimes, I wonder if these insects are safe for him to consume. What about the eight-legged spiders which he encounters every now and then?

I have done my fair share of research and found some helpful insights. And if you, too, are wondering whether turtles can eat spiders, let’s jump right into it.

Can Turtles Eat Spiders?

Yes, turtles will eat spiders when given the opportunity. However, as a responsible pet owner, you shouldn’t let this become a common practice because most spiders are poisonous, making them a potent threat. Furthermore, they carry parasites and have low nutritional value

Turtles do not hesitate to eat any kind of food. 

However, you should steer clear of feeding arthropods like spiders, beetles, scorpions, centipedes, etc.

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Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t feed your turtle spiders:

Spider Bites Can Be Fatal

Some spiders have venom in their fangs. And there’s always a chance that a spider will bite your turtle during the encounter. 

If the spider is able to inject enough venom into a turtle’s thin-skinned area, like the neck, it can stun the turtle and even cause death. 

However, turtles have scutes, and scales, which should protect them from the spider’s bite. 

But if the spider is a poisonous one, a turtle can get ill after ingesting it. 

Spiders Have Low To No Nutritional Value

Spiders offer little to no nutritional value compared to mealworms, dubia roaches, bloodworms, and other insects. Therefore, it isn’t recommended to feed these arachnids to turtles. 

Spiders Carry Parasites

Have you ever noticed a dead spider near the remainder of last night’s cup of coffee? What could have happened at night? Who killed the spider? Or, what killed the spider?

Let me tell you what exactly happened that night. 

Did you know that spiders carry parasites, too? 

Spiders act as a host to a specific parasitic organism known as mermithid nematode

The larvae of the nematode directly (by ingesting) or indirectly enter the spider’s system. 

These larvae then obtain nourishment from their hosts’ body fluids, digestive glands, gonads, and muscles. But gradually, the spider’s body goes feeble after letting the parasites suck all its bodily fluids. However, the spider isn’t dead yet. It still has one task left to do for the parasites. 

These nematodes are water-dependent, and they need water bodies to remain alive after their hapless host’s demise. 

So to make the spider search water, the parasites internally dehydrate the spider and make it thirsty. 

Thus, to quench its thirst, the spider finds what seems like the only water body in the kitchen, i.e., the cold coffee leftover on the table. 

Now the worm parasite comes out of the spider and dives into the liquid. As for the dying spider, it will be barely able to climb out of the cup. 

And the spider will die an untimely death.

Despite being dead, the spider still hosts some parasites inside its body. And when a turtle finds that dead spider, it will not hesitate to eat it. This time the larvae get a different host altogether. 

But the cycle continues.

By the way, do not drink that coffee!

Read On:

Can Turtles Eat Spinach? Spinach Have Oxalates!

Can Turtles Eat Snails? (What Kind And How Many Per Day?)

Can Turtles Eat Crickets? Do They Like It?

Which Spiders Are Safe For Turtles?

You shouldn’t feed any species of spiders to your turtles. But, if your turtle accidentally consumes one, you should be able to distinguish whether the insect was poisonous or not. You need not worry if your turtle ate house spiders and jumping spiders accidentally.

Which Spiders Are Poisonous To Turtles?

Hobo Spider by Julien Lino-Wiseman

Some venomous spiders that can injure turtles are:

  • Hobo Spider
  • Brown Recluse Spider
  • Yellow Sac Spider
  • Wolf Spider
  • Black Widow Spider

These venomous arthropods could bite and make your turtle sick or kill.

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Difference Between Poisonous And Venomous Spiders

Most spiders are poisonous, and only a handful are venomous. There’s a subtle difference between these two. 

Any toxin that gets into the consumer’s body by inhaling, swallowing, or absorption through the skin is poisonous. 

Whereas venomous is when the toxin is injected into the victim by use of fangs and stinger. 

Both kinds of spiders can pose threats to your turtle. 

What To Do If Your Turtle Eats A Spider?

Consuming one or two spiders occasionally isn’t dangerous right off the bat. However, it’s still important to observe the turtle for any signs of abnormality.

If you see any alarming signs, such as increased lethargy, bodily changes, and lack of appetite contact the vet immediately.

Final Words On Can Turtles Eat Spiders

Turtles consume every kind of insect they can lay their claws on. However, there’s a danger when a spider is involved. 

On top of that, it will be hard to differentiate which one is toxic and which isn’t. 

Therefore, feeding your turtle spider only invites trouble. 

Some spiders, like house spiders, are safe for consumption. However, note that they are suitable hosts for parasites known as nematodes. 

These parasites have a tendency to transfer their domain from one host to another, making your turtle a susceptible target if it devours the parasite-containing spider. 

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.